Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words

This page describes Story of Meghavahana which is the second part of chapter V of the English translation of the Ajitanatha-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Ajitanatha in jainism is the second Tirthankara (Jina) and one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Again Sagara asked, “What is the cause of the mutual hostility between their sons, and of my affection for Sahasrākṣa?” The Master said:

“In a former birth you were a wandering mendicant, named Rambhaka, possessing liberality and good conduct, and they were two disciples of yours, Śaśin and Āvali. Āvali was very dear to you because of his great reverence. One day he bought a cow for cash. Śaśin, cruel-hearted, caused dissension with the owner of the cow, rushed in between, and bought the cow. Then they had a terrible fight with hair-pulling, and fighting with fists and staffs, and Āvali was killed by Śaśin. After he had wandered through births for a long time, Śaśin was born as Meghavāhana and Āvali as Sahasrākṣa. This is the cause of their hostility. By the power of liberality, Rambhaka wandered through good conditions of existence (gati) and became you, the cakrin. Your affection for Sahasrākṣa originated in the former birth.”

Then the Lord of the Rākṣasas, Bhīma, who was sitting in the assembly, rose and warmly embraced Meghavāhana, and said: “I was a king, Vidyutdaṃṣṭra, in Kāñcanapura on Mt. Vaitāḍhya in Bharatakṣetra in Puṣkaradvīpa in a former birth. In that birth you were my son Rativallabha, exceedingly dear. Now, O child, it is well that you have been seen. So it is now also. You are my son. Take my army. Whatever else is mine is yours. In the ocean Lavaṇoda is the crest-jewel of all islands, Rākṣasadvīpa, unconquerable even by the gods, extended for seven hundred yojanas in all directions. At its center is Mt. Trikūṭa, like Sumeru at the center of the earth, very splendid, circular, nine yojanas high, fifty yojanas in diameter, very difficult of access.

On its top I have made just now a city, named Laṅkā, provided with golden walls, houses, and arched gateways. Traversing six yojanas within the earth, one finds a fine city of mine, extending for a hundred and twenty-five yojanas, ancient, marked with bright crystal walls, with houses made of various jewels, named Pātālalaṅkā, very difficult of access. O son, take these two cities; be their king. Let the fruit of the sight of the Tīrthaṅkara be yours right now.”

With these words, the Lord of the Rākṣasas gave him a large necklace made of nine jewels, and also the magic science of the Rākṣasas at once. After he had paid homage to the Blessed One, then Ghanavāhana went to Rākṣasadvīpa and became the king of the two Laṅkās. From that time his family became a Rākṣasa-family from his kingship over Rākṣasadvīpa and from the Rākṣasa-science. This being the case, the All-knowing went elsewhere in his wandering. Indra, Sagara, and the others went to their respective abodes.

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